By News Team
28th September 2021
Three of Europe’s defeated Ryder Cup side are straight back in action on the European Tour this week as Shane Lowry, Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton tee it up for the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
All are towards the head of the betting, but we think two Belgian players might be able to upset the applecart.
Read on to find out why…
In-form Pieters a likely contender
There’s no doubt Thomas Pieters (28/1) would have watched the Ryder Cup with a degree of disappointment. Since being Europe’s leading point scorer in the 2016 renewal, Pieters has really struggled to find his best form with just one win – the 2019 Czech Masters. One victory in that period is far too little for a player of his talents and it will be immensely frustrating that he hasn’t got over the line more than he has.
However, there have been signs, notably recently, that Pieters might finally have found the recipe to get back in the winners’ circle. Four top 18s in his last six starts, with the two most recent being ties for ninth, show the Belgian’s game is in a pretty good spot. His last 12 rounds have all been under par too and he’ll be hopeful of continuing the good form here especially as conditions should suit.
The tournament takes place at three courses – Kingbarns, Carnoustie and St Andrews – with the professionals joining celebrities and amateurs and this means the courses are set up in a much easier fashion than normal. Scoring is often low at this event with -20 or better the winning score on six occasions since 2011. That will be music to the ears of Pieters as his four European Tour victories have come with scores of 20, 19, 17 and 19 under par, so he’s clearly a player that prefers it when plenty of birdies are a must.
Detry could finally make Tour breakthrough
Pieters’ Belgian compatriot Thomas Detry is the other one who looks worthy of consideration at 35/1. Amazingly Detry, despite his clear talents, still has yet to taste success as a professional and he’ll hope it can come in this event – one in which Hatton, Victor Perez, Oliver Wilson and Stephen Gallacher made their European Tour breakthroughs.
As mentioned, it’s pretty surprising Detry hasn’t got over the line yet, but his 2021 form suggests he might not have to wait much longer for everything to fall into place. He was fourth at the KLM Open last time, played at a course designed by Kyle Philips (responsible for Kingsbarns), while he was defeated in a play-off at the Scottish Open, so has form in Scotland too.
Granted his results – MC, 48, 23 – in this event aren’t anything to write home about, but they are progressive in their own right. He shot three rounds in the 60s the last time we saw him here, including a 63 at Kingsbarns, and he could easily become the latest in a long line of top players who break their maiden duck in Scotland.